6 WAYS TO CONNECT YOUR STARTUP WITH MICRO INFLUENCERS ON INSTAGRAM
History is full of influential figures. Abraham Lincoln. Napoleon. William Shakespeare.
But while we usually think of presidents and scientists when compiling our lists of influential people, they don’t always have a huge impact on our everyday life.
When it comes to the more mundane things, like trying to decide what clothes to wear or what brands to buy, we look to celebrities.
Having Kim Kardashian or Tom Brady guide your decision-making may sound strange, but for these types of purchasing decisions, actors and sports stars seem to pull a lot of weight. Why else would we constantly see celebrity endorsements throughout the advertising world?
Of course, the average small business can’t afford big-name celebrity sponsorships. But thanks to a growing number of influencers on Instagram and other social media platforms, you don’t need to find the next Kim Kardashian to get people to buy your product.
What you need is a micro-influencer…
Instagram and the rise of the micro-influencer
Micro-influencers aren’t big-name celebrities that you’ll find in the tabloids. Instead, they are Instagram users with anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 followers. They’ve built their audience thanks to their niche knowledge and authenticity.
Most importantly, their followers trust them and engage with them at a much higher rate than other Instagram accounts.
Indeed, micro-influencers have been found to be among the most effective sellers on the market.
One study found that a whopping “82% of consumers are highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer” because they are perceived as more credible and knowledgeable.
So how do you connect with these prized people? The following tips will ensure that your startup reaches the right micro-influencers for your niche.
1. Know what you need
Before you even begin trying to reach out to influencers on Instagram, you need to establish clear goals for what you want to accomplish with your campaign.
Are you trying to simply generate awareness for your brand? Do you want to promote a specific product or sales event? Or are you just trying to grow your own profile’s audience?
Answering these questions is essential for setting a budget and guiding your search for relevant influencers.
Keep in mind that working with a micro-influencer won’t give you the same level of control you’d have with a traditional ad campaign. You need to allow influencers to create content that matches their own unique style and audience preferences.
Ultimately, being willing to allow for some creative freedom will make it much easier to find influencers and create a successful campaign.
2. Let tools do the work
Trying to grow a startup isn’t easy. You have a lot of responsibilities on your plate, and successfully reaching out to micro-influencers isn’t going to be accomplished in fifteen minutes. Thankfully, there are several tools on the market that can manage the outreach for you.
One example of this is Kicksta, which uses a list of targeted Instagram accounts to help your account reach new followers. By continuously engaging with user-generated content, Kicksta fuels organic account growth by targeting those who are most relevant to your niche – including micro-influencers.
Famebit is another great option for setting up influencer campaigns.
Brands post information about their campaign, and then influencers who are interested in the campaign submit their own proposals. While you’ll still need to do your due diligence to make sure a particular influencer is a good fit, this takes care of much of the actual finding process.
3. Make the most of hashtag searches
Finding an influencer who is actually relevant to your startup’s niche is essential.
In a study by CrowdTap, 44 percent of social media influencers “said the number one motivator for working with a brand is if the opportunity is relevant to their audience.” Thankfully, Instagram’s easy-to-use search function makes it much easier to find relevant influencers.
For best results, search by hashtag.
Use multiple hashtags that are relevant to your company’s niche to compile a list of potential influencers. When going through the results, select photos that catch your attention. Instagram typically displays posts with the highest engagement first, which is a good way to find quality influencers.
Go through each profile from your list to see how well it fits your brand’s goals. Pay attention to engagement rates and how often they post, as well as if they typically post content that is relevant to your niche.
4. Search for bloggers
From guest posting to affiliate marketing, bloggers can present a wide range of potential marketing opportunities for your startup. Even a simple Google search for industry-specific or regional blogs can help you find influencers who will best serve your startup’s marketing needs.
Once you find these bloggers online, it shouldn’t take too much digging on their website or on Instagram to see if they qualify as a micro-influencer on the social media platform. If they do, you’ve just landed another outreach opportunity.
Even if a particular blogger doesn’t have a large Instagram following, researching these industry influencers is rarely a wasted effort. Chances are, you can still form valuable connections that will result in other marketing opportunities and build audience trust for your own content.
5. Identify who is open to sponsorships
Having a lot of followers doesn’t necessarily mean that a micro-influencer is open to sponsorship opportunities. Fortunately, many influencers provide key clues within their own profile to help you identify whether you can work with them.
These days, most micro-influencers will actually list contact information for potential ad partners in their profile. A little extra reading will help you avoid wasting time messaging those who aren’t interested in a partnership.
If a micro-influencer lists a website in their profile, be sure to check it out as well. Their website content will provide clues as to whether they actively engage in affiliate marketing or other campaigns that could help grow your audience.
6. Learn more about your own fans
Believe it or not, your current Instagram followers could be a prime resource for finding micro-influencers – as long as you’re willing to do some social media stalking.
Because these people already follow your brand, you don’t have to do the hard work of convincing them that your product or service is worth promoting. They already like your brand!
Many of your followers would be willing to promote your brand if you provide a free product sample or other perks. Just be sure to screen your “fan” micro-influencers the same way you would other potential influencers: at least 1,000 followers, an engaged audience, and posts that are mostly relevant to your niche.
Time to connect!
In helping our world become more interconnected than ever before, Instagram and other social media networks have provided brands with greater potential for word-of-mouth marketing.
You don’t have to drain your bank account chasing after the big-name celebrities in an attempt to reach your target audience. By using the above tips to leverage the power of micro-influencers, you can become more in-tune to your target consumers and achieve your marketing goals.
Has your brand been able to see great results by working with micro-influencers? Do you have additional strategies that have helped you connect with influencers in your niche?
I’d love to hear your stories!
Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below.
Article by JEFF BULLAS